Category Archives: nature

A Rainbow Octopus

Not the poetry of words, but certainly the poetry of motion. A stunning video of a Rainbow Octopus from Aesthesiamag :

AesthesiaMag

https://octolab.tv/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Untitled-design-2019-08-09T120305.757.jpghttps://vg5b2ejdwb-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/tremoctopus-blanket-octopus-lembeh-straight.jpghttps://vg5b2ejdwb-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/maxresdefault-66-e1581609796567.jpg

More info: NAD-Lembeh.com | Facebook | YouTube

In a short clip captured during a blackwater night dive in the Lembeh Strait, a blanket octopus unfolds and displays a colorful web multiple times her original size. The aquatic animal’s iridescent body and tentacles glow against the nighttime water before she releases her translucent blanket that connects her dorsal and dorsolateral arms. Only adult females are equipped with the lengthy membrane that reaches as long as six feet and dwarfs male octopi, which are less than an inch in size and most often die immediately after mating. Generally, the females only unfurl their color-changing blankets to appear larger and more intimidating to potential predators. Shared by NAD Lembeh Resort, the underwater video was taken on a RED Gemini with a 50 millimeter Zeiss Macro lens. You might also want to check out this footage of a blanket octopus in waters near…

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Seasonal


Sunlight jags across bare branches
casts long shadows over ridge and furrow
gives no favour aloof in winterbright sky
rabbits mourn the loss of grasses
russet brown of a red kite hunts above
chill wind cuts my coat
lazily going through not round

Pale primrose lies low
bold daffodils stand to attention
and the budding begins
sticky tree buds emerging from wood
reddish, shading to luminous green
all wait, as do I
with baited breath
for the right moment
the burst of Spring

Drowsy summer, warm and humid
brash coral flowerspikes
lean out of hedgerows
where bees amble and drone
in a bustling household I am idle
not gardening, not busy
sitting making plans to waste more time

Autumn leaves litter roads red and orange
the long slide into the cold begins again
advent madness beckons
like a siren calling us onto the rocks
of family festivities, hidden lonelinesses, retail greed and envy
soon rooftops will grow neon reindeer
all too soon it will be Christmas

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem was first published by North of Oxford 15th June 2020: https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2020/06/14/two-poems-by-kim-whysall-hammond/

Friday Poem: The Falcon Growing Old

​The falcon wears its erudition lightly
As it angles down towards its master’s glove.
Student of thermals written by the desert,
It scarcely moves a muscle as it rides
A silent avalanche back to the wrist
Where it will stand in wait like a hooded hostage.

A lifetime’s learning renders youthful effort
Less necessary, which is fortunate.
The chase and first-strike kill it once could wing
Have grown beyond it, so some morning soon
This bird will have its neck wrung without warning
And one of its progeny will take its place.

Thinking these things, the ageing writer makes
Sketches for poems, notes for paragraphs.
Bound for the darkness, does he see himself
Balanced and forceful like the poised assassin
Whose mere trajectory attracts all eyes
Except the victim’s? Habit can die hard,

But still the chance remains he simply likes it,
Catching the shifting air the way a falcon
Spreads on a secret wave, the outpaced earth
Left looking powerless. This sentence here,
Weighed down by literal meaning as it is,
Might only need that loose clause to take off,

Air-launched from a position in the sky
For a long glide with just its wing-tip feathers
Correcting for the wobble in the lisp
Of sliding nothingness, the whispering road
That leads you to a dead-heat with your shadow
At the orange-blossom trellis in the oasis.

by Clive James

Friday poem: Kinship

Very slowly burning, the big forest tree
stands in the slight hollow of the snow
melted around it by the mild, long
heat of its being and its will to be
root, trunk, branch, leaf, and know
earth dark, sun light, wind touch, bird song.

Rootless and restless and warmblooded, we
blaze in the flare that blinds us to that slow,
tall, fraternal fire of life as strong
now as in the seedling two centuries ago.

by Ursula Le Guin

Friday Poem: The names of the Hare

‘The Names of the Hare’ is a poem written in the late thirteenth century, originally in Middle English, that is attributed to a Shropshire family on the Welsh borders. The poem is said to be a ritual to be recited by a hunter on his first encounter with a hare, and the seventy seven different names given to the hare in the poem were supposed, on recital, to deliver it to the hunter’s power.

The man the hare has met
will never be the better of it
except he lay down on the land
what he carries in his hand—
be it staff or be it bow—
and bless him with his elbow
and come out with this litany
with devotion and sincerity
to speak the praises of the hare.
Then the man will better fare.
‘The hare, call him scotart,
big-fellow, bouchart,
the O’Hare, the jumper,
the rascal, the racer.
Beat-the-pad, white-face,
funk-the-ditch, shit-ass.
The wimount, the messer,
the skidaddler, the nibbler,
the ill-met, the slabber.
The quick-scut, the dew-flirt,
the grass-biter, the goibert,
the home-late, the do-the-dirt.
The starer, the wood-cat,
the purblind, the furze cat,
the skulker, the bleary-eyed,
the wall-eyed, the glance-aside
and also the hedge-springer.
The stubble-stag, the long lugs,
the stook-deer, the frisky legs,
the wild one, the skipper,
the hug-the-ground, the lurker,
the race-the-wind, the skiver,
the shag-the-hare, the hedge-squatter,
the dew-hammer, the dew-hoppper,
the sit-tight, the grass-bounder,
the jig-foot, the earth-sitter,
the light-foot, the fern-sitter,
the kail-stag, the herb-cropper.
The creep-along, the sitter-still,
the pintail, the ring-the-hill,
the sudden start,
the shake-the-heart,
the belly-white,
the lambs-in-flight.
The gobshite, the gum-sucker,
the scare-the-man, the faith-breaker,
the snuff-the-ground, the baldy skull,
(his chief name is scoundrel.)
The stag sprouting a suede horn,
the creature living in the corn,
the creature bearing all men’s scorn,
the creature no one dares to name.’
When you have got all this said
then the hare’s strength has been laid.
Then you might go faring forth—
east and west and south and north,
wherever you incline to go—
but only if you’re skilful too.
And now, Sir Hare, good-day to you.
God guide you to a how-d’ye-do
with me: come to me dead
in either onion broth or bread.

Translation from the Middle English by Seamus Heaney

Summer’s loss

Heart broken she withdraws
as every winter
into dark soil
as every winter

The promise of the stars nightly turning
the sinking and turning of constellations
the track of planets wandering  across the sky
say that she will return

Time past she was encouraged
by midwinter fires
now we trust to orbital mechanics

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Winding Road


The winding road I walk
wanders through country hedges
stuffed full of brambles and bomb-weed
across hay meadows to where
gauze mist veils distant hills.
Rust red cows huddle by a gate
tails swishing away flies
and rooks shout from their rookery
hurling bird banter from tall tree to tall tree.
Later the Sun will lower down to the west
shadows will merge and meld
owls will hunt. But now
rabbits nibble in golden light
and a peace settles deep inside.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The weird font is due to my struggles with the new block editor. 

Chalklands

Chalk undulates across Southern England
Hills, gentle yet steep
Can be overtopped by clay peppered with flints
So treasured by the old folk

As old as the hills is true here
The chalk is a two hundred million year ocean
Stiffened and folded over time
By our living planet

Several human species
Have hunted  in these valleys
Have dug into and sculpted these hills
Have left their ghosts for us to trace

The ancient monuments we treasure
Hill forts, stone circles, long barrows
Are but modern remnants
Compared to the first folk

My hills have deep roots

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond